I love films that have obvious titles like Murder by Contract. We know what we are in for but the journey is so damn good that it doesn’t matter where the destination is. Murder by Contract came out in the middle of Irving Lerner’s five decade long career and is known as one of Martin Scorsese’s favorite films of all time. It has earned its place over time as a cult classic and one of the smoothest and coolest film noir pieces from the 50’s. Ben Maddow, who was an incredible screenwriter did some uncredited work on Murder by Contract and it’s seen as a film that has his trademark shorthand style which is a mighty fine way to construct a film.
Claude is a very clean, cut, and serious man who decides to become a contract killer because of his perspective on it being just business. He doesn’t use a gun like most killers do which allows him to have a more casual approach to his work. He experiences success in the field which leads him to a job in Los Angeles where he has to find and kill a woman of high profile. This task proves to test Claude to his deepest core, but after all it’s his business.
Vince Edwards provides one of the coolest performances I’ve ever witnessed in Murder by Contract. His professionalism in a world filled with some of the most vicious minds is damn near shocking at times. I can’t believe Simcoe doesn’t have more screenplays under his belt because this is an extremely well-written story with powerful dialogue. I’ve been trying to go back and watch more films from the 50’s era of film noir. I have seen some gems and Murder by Contract is right up there with the best of them.